The five-city US tour "A New Chapter: Women Writing Northern Ireland Now," featuring three award-winning Northern Irish writers in partnership with five American universities, runs from November 27 through December 5.
The tour, presented by the Consulate General of Ireland in New York with support from the Northern Ireland Bureau, offers the opportunity to examine the Troubles and the impact of the Good Friday Agreement through the prism of culture and cultural change.
Northern Irish authors Lucy Caldwell, Jan Carson, and Michelle Gallen are part of a new zeitgeist of innovative and award-winning writing, which started with the success of Anna Burns (who won the Booker Prize for "Milkman") and are emblematic of a “new chapter” in the lexicon of Irish writing, coming in the aftermath of peace and the outpouring of innovation and creativity which it has released.
The "A New Chapter: Women Writing Northern Ireland Now" tour begins with an evening of readings and conversations at the Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University in New York City on Monday, November 27. There, the trio will reflect on their upbringing during the Troubles and its continuing impact on their lives.
The following evening, the authors will visit Villanova University in Pennsylvania for a literary discussion centering around women's rights, the sectarian divide, and social class in Northern Ireland.
Caldwell, Carson, and Gallen then travel to Georgetown University in Washington, DC on November 29 for an evening of readings and discussions in partnership with Georgetown University’s Global Irish Studies and Solas Nua.
Caldwell and Gallen will then head to Boston for a reading at the Irish Consulate on December 1 before returning to New York City to take part in 'Favorite Poems’ at the Irish Arts Center, as part of its annual PoetryFest.
Special guests include Laurie Anderson @OnlyAnExpert, David Byrne, Lucy Caldwell @beingvarious, @michellegallen, Michael Patrick MacDonald @MickPaddyMack, Consul General Helena Nolan @CGNYIreland, Dael Orlandersmith, and more to be announced 👀 Stay tuned!— Irish Arts Center (@IrishArtsCenter) November 16, 2023
Later, Carson will take part in a reading at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York on December 5, with New York Consul General Helena Nolan set to be in attendance.
Nolan welcomed the upcoming tour, describing it as a celebration of Northern Irish literature that underlines the importance of sharing Northern Irish women’s voices.
"Culture is a wonderful way to examine, discuss, and reflect on complex issues and narratives," Nolan said in a statement.
"It’s by sharing our stories that we learn, about ourselves and one another, and that we build the empathy which is essential for any progress.
"The work and the voices of these women writers is an important part of that journey, and the Consulate is delighted to support their inaugural east coast tour."
Looking for Irish book recommendations or to meet with others who share your love for Irish literature? Join IrishCentral’s Book Club on Facebook and enjoy our book-loving community.
About the authors
Lucy Caldwell, born in Belfast, is the author of four novels, several stage plays and radio dramas, and two collections of short stories, with a third forthcoming in 2024.
Awards include the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the George Devine Award, the Dylan Thomas Prize, a Major Individual Artist Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the BBC National Short Story Award, and the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.
Caldwell was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2018 and, in 2022, was the recipient of the EM Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters.
This week we introduce the 3 Northern Irish writers for ‘A New Chapter’.
Meet Lucy Caldwell, an award-winning author from Belfast who has written 3 novels, most recently ‘These Days’ about the Belfast Blitz. Lucy has also written plays & 2 short story collections. @beingvarious pic.twitter.com/ObKpZSD63l— Irish Consulate NYC (@IrelandinNY) November 14, 2023
Jan Carson is a writer and community arts facilitator based in Belfast.
Her first novel, "Malcolm Orange Disappears," was published in 2014 followed by a short-story collection, "Children’s Children" (2016), and two "Postcard Stories" anthologies. Her second novel, "The Fire Starters "(2019), won the EU Prize for Literature and was shortlisted for the Dalkey Novel of the Year Award. "The Raptures" (2022) was shortlisted for the An Post Novel of the Year and the Kerry Group Novel of the Year. Her short story collection, "Quickly, While They Still Have Horses," is forthcoming in Spring 2024.
Jan is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
This week we are introducing the 3 Northern Irish women writers for ‘A New Chapter’.
Meet Jan Carson, a Belfast-based writer whose novels include ‘The Fire Starters’, EU Prize Winner for Literature 2019, and ‘The Raptures’, shortlisted for An Post Novel of the Year 2022. pic.twitter.com/XGmkmVtU5J— Irish Consulate NYC (@IrelandinNY) November 15, 2023
Michelle Gallen was born in Northern Ireland in the mid-1970s and grew up during the Troubles a few miles from the border between what she was told was the “Free” State and the “United” Kingdom. She studied English literature at Trinity College Dublin, then survived what doctors now suspect was autoimmune encephalitis in her mid-twenties.
Her debut novel, "Big Girl, Small Town" was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award. Her critically acclaimed second novel, "Factory Girls," won the Comedy Women in Print award and was shortlisted for the RSL Encore Award. Both books are being adapted for television.
This week we are introducing the 3 Northern Irish women writers for ‘A New Chapter.’
Meet Michelle Gallen, whose upbringing near the border during the Troubles influenced her award-winning novels ‘Big Girl, Small Town’ & ‘Factory Girls’. Both books are now being adapted for TV! pic.twitter.com/Jael6ISaVu— Irish Consulate NYC (@IrelandinNY) November 16, 2023
"A New Chapter: Women Writing Northern Ireland Now" is presented in partnership with Columbia University, NYU, Georgetown University, Le Moyne College, and Villanova University, with support from the Government of Ireland and the Northern Ireland Bureau.